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Aitor Karanka says the challenge, not the money, keeps him on Teesside

Middlesbrough’s manager talks of rumours, frustrations and missing out on his top transfer targets but insists his life in the north-east is ‘a bed of roses’ and that he loves the ‘amazing challenge’ of staying in the Premier League

The weather outside was grey, damp and windy but, inside the double security doors marking the entrance to Middlesbrough’s training ground, it felt as if brilliant sunshine had flooded back into Aitor Karanka’s life.

After weeks spent in intensely “uptight” mode, Boro’s suddenly uber?relaxed manager smiled benignly before elegantly pouring scorn on a suggestion that his recent fierce criticisms of the club’s fans and board were delivered with the intention of securing a pay-off.

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